Wednesday, August 7, 2019

No Bold Tactics

Let's be clear about something right away. Busy does not equal effective. Everyone is busy...or make themselves 'busy.' I see it all the time. Leaders who want to over share how hectic their days are...so full of things to do...and important executives to sit next to during meeting after meeting.

So...I hate to break it to those folks who thrive on this sort of thing...but you are failing.

Leadership is not only about going to meetings.
Leadership is not only about getting things done on your task list.
Leadership is not only talking about how busy you are.

Tactics and Excuses
Too many leaders get stuck in tactical decisions (even the most senior executives) and convince themselves that they are actually moving their organizations forward.

Not true.

Sure, it's easier to feel productive when you're doing things. I love the feeling of (digitally) checking items off my Wunderlist. But, those items are at the end of the process. At some point, I've had to invest significant time, energy and resources into effectively planning the bold moves my organization or my clients need to make.

There are no tactics in that work.


Strategy and Courage
The really difficult work of planning, executing, and completing strategic plans is, in my opinion, the most important work to be done. True plans...fresh ideas that become reality...launching new product lines...addressing major gaps in the organization and doing something about it...THAT is the work of real leaders.

The same old talk, talk, talk, without the plan is worthless. 

Why reference courage at this point? Easy...most leaders don't have the courage to build the plans necessary...to take the bold risks necessary...to literally move their organizations forward.

It is far easier to work to maintain the status quo and keep life in neutral, than it is to see what needs to be done and build and execute a plan that gets the organization to an entirely new place.

How About You
Look back over the last five years of your career. What risks have you taken? How have you literally changed your organization for the better? What tangible results can you share?

You have it in you to make it happen. You simply need to go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Outlive the Hand

"What's the most important contribution that you've made to your organization?"

Let that sink in for a minute.

Now take that question a step further. "What will your most important contribution to your organization be after you've left?"

Whoa.

Trains Running
As you start replaying the various initiatives you've been a part of let's clear something up right away. Keeping operations running smoothly is not the answer to either of my questions. While important, no one has a legacy that starts with "she always kept the trains running on time."

That is an expectation, not a legacy.

Courage
The most important, and candidly impactful, things I've accomplished in my career required a fair amount of risk and courage. Trying new approaches in very public ways (which means failure would also be very public); and, tackling unpopular issues were always at the top of my list. 

Was I a glutton for punishment? Of course not. Did I see opportunities to make a real difference in the life of my organizations? I sure did. The cold reality of pushing issues that are risky is that it is often a lonely path forward. The support often comes after breakthroughs and success. 

But that's not what legacies are built around. It's all about the difference we make. Not the slaps on the back, or praise in front of the masses. Not chasing glory to pump up our fragile ego. It is simply about knowing we did the right thing in a big way. 



How About You
What will your legacy be long after you've written the last verse? What about the other aspects of your life: family, faith, relationships or volunteering? True legacy means that what we've created outlives the hand that created it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

inspiration
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Power of Community in Your Success

I've been thinking a lot about the role "community" plays in my life. It's a term that gets thrown around so much that I wonder if anyone has internalized a definition for themselves and embraced it?

The deeper I've gone into my own communities, the more I see the profound role they play in my life. In fact, I can quickly identify six distinct communities that I actively participate in on a daily basis. Whoa!

Professional
This seems obvious, yet my focus isn't that I have a cool job and am able to do interesting things. It's all about the relationships and trust I've built that makes the difference.

Social
All hail the power of social media. Yes, I'm serious. Some of my most important social relationships (and my Personal Board of Directors) were born out of my connections on various social media channels.

Faith
This is a huge part of my daily life, and I am absolutely grateful for it. Whether I'm leading small groups, or prepping for a big mission trip later this summer, my faith community has been tremendous.

Fitness
Staying healthy and reasonably fit has been an important part of my life for a long time. Investing in a professional trainer last Fall has helped me take my game to the next level. Now, a new facebook accountability group around fitness and motivation helps keep me on track as well.


Music
When my friend Michael Carty asked me to write about how I feel about "my" music, I was both humbled and a bit intimidated. But alas, my music is not only one of my greatest passions, it has also brought me to one of the most welcoming, nonjudgmental communities I have ever experienced. Here's the post if you're curious.

Family
Last here...but certainly not on my list of priorities, is my amazing family and those close personal relationships that make all the noise of the world seem insignificant. To say I feel blessed would be a massive understatement.

How About You
What are the communities that mean the most to you? How do they make a difference in your life?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Your Message?

We all send a message. Whether it's in the words we choose to say, the decisions we make, the risks we take, the way we choose to behave or the culture we promote in our organizations...we all send a message.

What message do you send? What would those around you say defines who you are as a leader? Those messages are real. Their impact on the team is real. 

Far too often leaders believe they can say one thing and do another. That is simply untrue. Our colleagues are bright, insightful people who are crystal clear on our impact. 


How is it then that leaders can convince themselves of their own reality and be so far removed from what actually is...well...real?

The saddest part is watching it all happen. So many lost opportunities to lead, when instead it's as if their internal cult of personality has to be fed.

What do you think about messaging? Is it as simple as "do the right thing" or, is there a deeper issue that needs to be explored?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Downshift

Hey friends...I'm back from an incredible week away with my sons. I'm blessed beyond words to be able to have fun as well as to experience wild moments with them (literally...think sharks!)

Time
As my children become adults, it is increasingly clear to me that the quality of the time we spend together far outweighs the quantity. Gone are the days of playing hide and seek and having "floor time" every evening after work.

Now, it's all about quality. To be honest with you, that transition is harder than I thought it would be. They don't need me every day like they used to, but they sure do need me now. 

We maximize our time together, as I do with my older daughter, to ensure our time is meaningful, not just an obligation to "get together."

Focus
I wonder if that same commitment to quality moments holds true in the workplace? Spending time with our team members is critically important to building the corporate cultures we all long for. Yet, it is not up to the employees to create the environment for that culture to flourish. 

That responsibility rests solely on us as leaders.

Additionally, our employees don't need us to watch over them every minute of the day. They are not children. They are the bright, creative, hard-working people that make our organizations successful.

Do they still need us? Of course they do. But they need quality, not overbearing quantity.


How About You
What is your time commitment to your team? Are you downshifting away from a focus on quantity and moving to maximizing the quality of your time with them? Or, is the old school bed check approach more your style?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I Grind Harder Than You

I've spent lots of time over the years pushing myself. 

that ridiculous "inbox zero" goal...

the perceived need to be the first one in the office and the last to leave...

the email sessions over the weekend to stay on top of every single thing in the universe...

and worst of all, the guilt that comes from actually giving myself some down time.

What is Wrong With Me
Maybe it comes with age...er...not being an up and comer anymore? Maybe it's a new lens that we are blessed with when we cross the halfway mark (yes, I'm over 50). Or, maybe it's just that I'm thinking about my whole self, and how taking care of my whole self actually makes me a better member of my organization?

How is this post any different than the ones that talk about work / life balance and taking care of yourself?

Well, it's not about everyone else like those other posts. This one is about me.

Slowly Figuring It Out
Over the last year or so, I've finally started to distance myself from "work guilt" and have completely moved away from the odd concept of "work / life balance."

First, the guilt. 

Understanding that my entire life is not defined by the work I do (although I am extremely proud of what we're doing at Kinetix); and, that the success we are having can not be the only thing that represents who I am.

My family, my faith, my friends and my health are also huge parts of who I am. Recognizing that those pieces also deserve my "time" has been an important and positive shift for me.

Now, that balance fallacy.

For a long time I've struggled to let go of trying to balance my work life and personal life. Not necessarily in the way you might think though. The realization that has finally come is to fully embrace that notion that my life includes both my work and personal lives throughout every day.

I may need to spend a night (or several) working on a proposal, catching up on work tasks or prepping for a busy day. The weekend might provide the only time I can focus on important follow up items.

I also may need to spend part of a day addressing other pressing issues in my life that are not work related...but they are "me" related.


My whole self. 

It comes down to balancing my whole life, not trying to compartmentalize the many facets of who I am into nice little buckets and time slots on my calendar.

Life balance.

How About You
Have you gotten caught up in the mindset of hyper-productivity is the only true productivity? I was there for many years. Now, I embrace all of the parts of my life and I feel stronger and more effective than ever. I wish it hadn't taken so long to get here.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

My Secret Ingredients to Interviewing

Over the years I've interviewed for a variety of jobs. In the early part of my career I was...well...not even close to qualified for some of them. But that didn't stop me from getting hired.

What was the secret combination of magical spells I put on the hiring managers to give me a shot?

Three Secrets
1. Preparation

This first step may sound obvious, but sadly, I've seen this noticeably absent over and over again. Candidates come to interviews (even at middle and senior management levels) ill-prepared to grill me and my colleagues about the opportunity.

Conversely, I have always wanted to be the most prepared person in the interview process...particularly when I was the candidate. That's right...I wanted to be far more prepared than those interviewing me.

Exhaustive reviews of company websites, Linkedin profiles, google searches of leaders, and detailed questions based on each person who would be interviewing me were mandatory. 

2. Confidence

Being timid is lame. Being soft is lame. Being meek inspires absolutely zero confidence. Sound hokey? I don't care. 

It's true. I'm never going to hire someone to join my company if they are not confident in their initial presentation to me. 

After all, I'm only asking them to talk about them self. If they can not do that, how are they going to thrive in any corporate culture? 

3. Energy

How does one exude confidence? With lots of energy, that's how. Work is more demanding than ever. The ability to keep up with the crazy pace we're all expected to maintain requires lots of energy. If that doesn't show in the interview, how in the world will a hiring leader have any confidence that it will mysteriously show up once you start the job?

How About You
What are your secrets to successful interviews? What would you add to my list? 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


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